This is a full project I developed in my Computer Applications/ Business Technology classes to help students develop their PowerPoint skills in a fun way while also working on their literacy and critical thinking skills. The lesson plans include the objectives, students assignment handout, grading rubric and peer assessment activity/ rubric. These plans do not include step by step instructions on using PowerPoint - you can adapt the lesson to have students practice any tools in PowerPoint or you could use it in an English class to have students work on their storytelling and sequencing skills. Please email me after purchasing to receive sample PPTs resulting from this project to show your class.
I created this project to use as the first assignment my students complete in our 2nd level Business Technology (Computer Applications) course. My students LOVE it and they learn and practice several skills in a short amount of time. I was running into several problems when trying to teach the PowerPoint unit to my students, such as:
• Our textbook is boring, tedious, and I see very little evidence of students retaining the skills and knowledge they practice in the textbook assignments when they do not have the textbook in front of them. The textbook assignments seem to be more of an exercise in reading and following directions (which is valuable, but not all the time) then they are in learning new skills and knowledge about effective presentations and the PowerPoint software. While our textbook is helpful in introducing knowledge and skills, it does not generate the permanent learning that more authentic assignments like this one can. Additionally, the reading level required to understand our textbook is beyond that of my students, so many of the directions are outside of their comprehension.
• Students had several misconceptions about what good design for a presentation looks like (every slide a different color, wild template selection that had nothing to do with the show, etc), and seemed to lack any understanding of transferring the knowledge and skill they get from the textbook assignments to projects in their other classes.
• Ineffective PowerPoint presentations had been predominately modeled for students throughout their lives, and I really wanted to start our PowerPoint unit by getting them to think out of the box and not rely so heavily on lots of unfocused text.
• This unit comes at the end of the semester when it is hard to keep students engaged, so I needed a project that was FUN!
So this project resulted as a fun way to develop literacy skills (the article serves like an article summary, for any teachers who are working on incorporating more literacy strategies into class), and for students to use their critical thinking, creative, technical and communication skills all in one project! It is easy to adapt the project to retell any story if you don’t have time or resources in class to use an article, or to use as an article summary project for a current event.
I approach this project by 1st showing the You Tube Video – Death by PowerPoint – where a comedian does a skit about bad PowerPoint presentations. Then we have a discussion about identifying audience, design elements, and how to keep people engaged in what you are trying to communicate to them. Once we build this solid foundation, then we pick our articles and read for the purpose of finding the main story line and characters so that we can retell it graphically.